Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe (Freezer Meal)

5 / 5 (1 review) 2 Comments

Grilled chicken pesto pasta

Healthy Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe

This creamy chicken pesto pasta recipe is simple and delicious! My whole family loves it! It reminds me of my family’s favorite poor man’s lasagna recipe.

Combine meat, sauce, cheeses, and pasta for a delicious and easy meal that freezes well too! Change up the meat and the flavors a bit and we have another easy family favorite.

Grilled chicken pesto

Grilling the Chicken

Since you’ll be grilling the chicken for this pesto pasta bake recipe, you’ll probably want to cook it up in the summer or spring time. You could also buy pre-grilled chicken from the stores but I don’t think it would taste quite as good.

Either way, once you have your grilled chicken ready, coat it thoroughly in pesto sauce and set it aside.

Pesto penne pasta

Picking Your Pesto and Pasta Sauce

You can make your own pesto or buy it at the store. The Costco brand pesto is a really good one, so I just bought a jar from there.

I like to use one jar of Classico Spicy Tomato and Basil sauce and one jar of a traditional or parmesan-y cheesy pasta sauce for the combined sauce (the cheesier, the better, right?). Keeping it easy and flavorful.

Healthy chicken pesto pasta prepared

Preparing the Chicken Pesto Pasta for the Freezer

I used a full box (14.5 ounces) of penne pasta for the meals in the picture. As you can see, it will provide two 8×8 pans (or a 9×13) that are nearly overflowing. You can easily use less pasta if you prefer or there are deeper foil pans that would work well too.

Because the pans are so full, I think you might be able to get about 6-8 servings out of one 8×8. That’s a pretty good yield for a freezer meal that’s so easy to put together!

Chicken pesto pasta bake

Final Thoughts

This is an awesome freezer meal and it is also a great dish to make if you are feeding a large crowd!

I recently became involved in a freezer meal group in my neighborhood and this was a recipe that my neighbor made for us a few months ago. Once I tried it, I knew I needed to make it again and share it with you all too!

Creamy chicken pesto pasta recipe

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Healthy chicken pesto pasta recipe

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe (Freezer Meal)

5 / 5 (1 review)
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 50-60 mins
Yield: 9x13 | Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken
  • 1 cup pesto, divided
  • 8 to 14.5 ounces penne pasta
  • 48 ounces pasta sauce
  • 8 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces cottage cheese
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

Instructions

  1. Season and grill the chicken or you can use rotisserie chicken too. Cube the cooked chicken and toss in 1/2 cup pesto. Set aside. Cook the pasta to al dente.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the pasta sauce and 1/2 cup pesto together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, spinach, parmesan, and eggs. Then add the cooked pasta to the cheese mixture and gently stir to combine.
  5. In a 9x13 (or two 8x8 pans), layer sauce, pasta mixture, chicken, sauce, pasta mixture, chicken, sauce. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes uncovered, top with remaining mozzarella and bake for 5 minutes more.
  6. Preparing For the Freezer:

  7. Layer as instructed, then top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Wrap with 2 layers of plastic wrap, then cover with foil, label and freeze.
  8. Prepare after Freezing:

  9. Thaw for about 24 hours in refrigerator, unwrap and bake as usual. Or keep frozen, unwrap, then re-cover with one layer of foil. Bake covered for about 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Increase oven temperature to 350. Remove foil and bake for about 40 more minutes, until cheese is melted and filling is bubbling and warmed through.
Ingredients: Cheese, Chicken, Egg, Pasta, Pesto, Spinach
Meal Type: Main Dish
Categories: Casserole, Meat and Poultry, Pasta, Vegetables, Make Ahead/Freezer Meal, Oven

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